Karnataka house panel to form rules for media

Aim is to draw ‘Lakshman Rekha’ for electronic media

March 23, 2017 12:35 am | Updated 07:39 am IST - BENGALURU

CHENNAI, 29/12/2011: Satellite dish antennas for DTH service atop a building at T. Nagar in Chennai. 
Photo: B. Jothi Ramalingam

CHENNAI, 29/12/2011: Satellite dish antennas for DTH service atop a building at T. Nagar in Chennai. Photo: B. Jothi Ramalingam

In a move that has evoked sharp criticism from journalists, a House Committee of the Legislative Assembly was set up to frame rules and regulations for the news media on Wednesday.

This was after members in both Houses, cutting across party lines, came down heavily on what they called “irresponsible” reporting by the media, particularly 24x7 news channels.

Legislative Assembly Speaker K.B. Koliwad announced the formation of the House Committee to draw ‘Lakshman Rekha’ for the electronic media and thereby preventing them from sensationalising trivial family disputes, crime, and ghost stories for increasing TRP (television rating point).

Mr. Koliwad said terms and conditions of the House Committee would be framed, keeping in mind media freedom guaranteed under the Constitution, for restricting media from telecasting news “arbitrarily”.

In the Assembly, B.R. Patil of the KJP initiated the debate on “irresponsible and character assassination” reporting by 24x7 channels, and said the channels have been performing three roles of “petitioner, advocate and judge”, and delivering judgement on politicians.

One of the basic tasks of the media was to provide truthful and objective information to the people, which was a sine qua non in a democracy. But was the media performing this role sincerely and properly, he asked. “We know our rights. Without evidences, the electronic media is projecting politicians in a poor light and disrespecting us,” Mr. Patil said.

Raju Kage, Suresh Gowda (both BJP), P.M. Narendraswamy, Shivaraj Tangadagi (Congress), Sa Ra Mahesh (JD-S) and others joined in and condemned the twisting of facts and reporting false news. S.T. Somashekar, B.A. Moinuddin Bava, Srinivas Hebbar (Congress) narrated how they have been harassed and hounded by the media

Senior journalists described the move as a “serious threat on the freedom of the press”. Krishna Prasad, Member, Press Council of India, said: “This is a brazen all-party attempt to muzzle the media in an election year.” He added: “Hopefully the media will join hands to oppose the bid to scuttle media freedom.”

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